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Game 55 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins

News, notes and line combos for tonight’s matchup.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators (19-26-9) are in Pittsburgh today to take on the Penguins (31-22-4). After an unexpectedly slow start for the defending champions, they’ve heated up, taking 13 of a possible 16 points since January 23rd. In the chaos of the league’s most competitive division, they currently sit in second place.

The Senators have been building up wins as well, with only two losses through six games in February. And because they’re the Sens, they just had to be against Montreal and Toronto. They’ve scored 3+ goals in three consecutive games, something that hasn’t happened since mid-December.

Lineup Notes

Nate Thompson and Gabriel Dumont remain out of the Sens’ lineup, while Dumont is likely to be ready on Thursday against the Sabres. Max McCormick was called back up to fill the gap, as the team will return to playing twelve forwards and six defenceman. It appears Fredrik Claesson will be the odd man out.

Mike Condon gets the start after relieving Craig Anderson on Saturday. Matt Murray will be his opponent at the other end.

Line Combos

Below are the expected lines and pairings per Bruce Garrioch. The Boucher blender hasn’t been all that active in the past month, save for Chabot and Oduya rotating next to Karlsson.

Hoffman - Duchene - White
Smith - Brassard - Stone
Dzingel - Pageau - Pyatt
Paajarvi - McCormick - DiDomenico

Oduya - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Borowiecki - Chabot

Condon (starter)

Game Notes

  • Boucher held a tough practice yesterday, which included lots of 1-on-1 battle drills. After an inept performance against the division rivals, including a three goal deficit after the first period, maybe it’ll give the team some extra spring in their step. Maybe.
  • Milestone watch: Erik Karlsson is close to reaching 500 career points, sitting at 492 (which is coincidentally tied with Bobby Ryan). It’s doubtful he’ll have an eight point night (one can dream), although it’ll be a great accomplishment once he gets there.
  • In recent history, Ottawa vs Pittsburgh has typically been a high-scoring matchup in the regular season, averaging over seven goals per game since the start of 2016.
  • Colin White continues to get big opportunities on the top line, and one has wonder at what point this turns into a situation of rushing a prospect. His two points and eleven shots in thirteen games don’t seem like first-line caliber, but either way, it’s good to see Boucher finally getting over his risk aversion with prospects.
  • Game time is 7:00 p.m.

Head-to-Head Stats

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 2.68 25th 3.25 6th
Goals against/GP 3.44 30th 2.56 3rd
Shots/GP 30.7 24th 32.8 11th
Shots against/GP 33.0 25th 29.3 2nd
Powerplay % 16.7 26th 23.5 4th
Penalty Kill % 76.2 27th 83.3 4th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 46.32 29th 53.97 2nd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 46.94 27th 54.01 1st

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Player # Player #
Goals Matt Duchene 27 Brad Marchand 34
Assists Erik Karlsson (out) 53 Brad Marchand 51
Points Karlsson/Stone (both out) 62 Brad Marchand 85
Shots Mike Hoffman 253 David Pastrnak 236
TOI/GP Erik Karlsson (out) 26:44 Zdeno Chara 22:53